Using COTS Software for Simulation and Modelling
The use of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software has been growing in the defense industry, but is mainly limited to 2 key areas:
1) Commercial gaming tech visualisation technology such as VR and AR and 3D engines such as Unreal and Unity, to power flight simulators or sims such as VBS
2) Simulations built for the defence industry by the defence industry, such as Sword and VR Forces
A completely overlooked area are the full service commercial wargame simulations. The general attitude towards these has been that they are games or toys and not suitable for serious analysis or training. That attitude has been slowly changing but still has a long way to go.
The developers of these games are often ex-military and hugely knowledgeable about the subject matter and method of operations. The drive to adopt these wargames and simulations is coming from the bottom up, with users and analysts shouting for more and better tools, while the leadership often does not understand the value, and as a result limits the rate of adoption.
In this presentation I will show you how far commercial games have come and how they are already being used for serious analysis by looking at 2 examples that are already in use.
Command Modern Air & Naval Operations is developed by the Warfare Sims team and is a physics based battlespace environment. Modelling entities on a component level from the ground up means all behaviours is emergent and 15 years of development and trial and error have produced a system that is able to mirror real world behaviours. It is already in use with US Air Mobility Command for their fuel studies and tanker planning, the Luftwaffe for training new officers and a range of other uses across the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Finland and Singapore, plus suppliers such as BAE, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Flashpoint Campaigns is developed by On Target Simulations and is an operational scale wargame with complex modelling of Command and control and OODA loops. It is being used by the US Army's ATHENA project under a 5 year development plan and by DSTL in the UK.
While the use of full service commercial gaming simulations is growing, the potential is far greater and we are really only seeing the tip of the iceberg.